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Staniel Cay Yacht Club
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Reviewed August 6, 2013

Five nights with our adult family in the Coral Cottage at Staniel Cay was very memorable (if you're wondering, yes, that's my mom who wrote a review about the same stay; I've tried to hit on some other aspects). The cottage was ‘beachy’ casual and had what you needed, including very hot showers (3 full baths), comfortable beds, 2 fridges to store drinks and a view of the pool (which was actually pretty nice for a swim at the end of each day!) In our cottage, everything was clean and seemed freshly painted. While we would’ve loved a view over the water, this was the only cottage that could accommodate five adults.

Food was better than expected and drinks aren’t expensive ($4 beer, $9 rum punch + 15%) but service is slow, sometimes painfully so (even for island time!) We were on the meal plan and would often order 3 of the lunches to go (big sandwiches and we’d share), then come back around 4:00 and order conch fritters, etc. at the bar (which they would count as our other 2 meals so there would be no extra charge).

The boats are beat up, but are great fun and the maps are easy to follow. We do wish that we would’ve taken a day to rent a bigger boat and go up to the Exuma Park – next time I guess. We bought beach chairs in Ft Lauderdale and flew over with them so we would have chairs to sit on at the beaches – it would be great if they’d start to provide these. (They give umbrellas but no chairs.)

The only thing that left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole trip was at the end. We flew on Watermakers (which has the same owner as SCYC) and as requested, we told the pilot we would need a taxi when we landed back in Ft Lauderdale. They ordered us a town car, which ended up costing $65 dollars to get to the main airport (we had only paid about $35 on the way in with a yellow cab). Turns out they have a partnership with the town car company, but I thought this was pretty presumptuous on their part.

Otherwise, we thoroughly enjoyed the laid back vibe of the property, exploring the beautiful waters and beaches and feeling just a little like a yachtie! We would definitely return.

A few tips:
1. We paid by personal check to avoid the 5% credit card fee and they were fine with it.
2. The tide times for Thunderball Grotto are relative - we thought we had to be there exactly at low tide, but we were there a couple hours later and could still get in to the grotto no problem
3. Pack plenty of sunscreen - we travel to the Caribbean a lot but you seem to be out in the elements more so on this trip than others. We also wore rash guards with SPF pretty frequently to avoid getting completely fried!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank emorygrad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

Stayed 5 nights in periwinkle with the all inclusive deal, had some reservations going in for 2 reasons, one this is a totally different style of vacation than we have done in the past, though we have been gravitating more and more towards the less commercialized side of things, the second reason is a couple of bad reviews on here. I can't imagine what the few bad reviews were complaining about. All i can surmise is some people will complain about anything. Needless to say our stay far exceeded our expectations. The best surprise was the attitude of the staff and the locals. Compared to the two other Caribbean vacations we have been on (St John and Grand Caimen). This aspect was a major improvement. SCYC just has this Caribbean coolness to it. From the bikes, to the whalers, to the yachts coming and going, it is truly an experience. Food was really good. Lanes limo was great as was the watermaker's air trip over to the island. The only way you will be disappointed is if you are misinformed about what to expect. If you like room service and to be pampered, then go to a sandals resort, but if a map and a whaler with countless islands to explore sound like an adventure, then go for it! We will be back for sure.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Cray M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

I LOVED this place. I can't say it enough and express it enough to make it understood. But I am a traveler, and not a tourist so I have a different level of experience and acceptance of my vacation choices. A traveler will gladly compromise speedy service and 5 star dining for a place that is unique and so fantastic that there aren't enough hours in a day. A tourist will complain if service is slow or the steak they ordered in a place surrounded by an ocean full of fresh fish takes longer than they wanted. Tourists will budget vacation yet expect and demand 5 star services. Tourists will forget about where they are and instead focus on the money spent.

Staniel Cay Yacht Club is for travelers, period. The rooms are small but very comfortable. I stayed in the Sea Glass cottage which is a brand new hillside cottage with a very nice king bed and great a/c that kept it very nice and cool. The view was of a tremendous blue ocean and yachts that were incredible. The food was good enough, nothing special but certainly good enough. We got a 17 ft boat included with our room that we used every day. It even included the gas which was nice. We did the all-inclusive package which I highly recommend because food in the Bahamas is not cheap and it's so much easier to not have to worry about it.

The staff is amazing. Leera and Nettie were awesome from the minute we flew in and took great care of us right up til the day we left. We made many new friends and I am already planning my return.

if you are a traveler, then by all means you must visit this amazing place. But if you're someone who will scrutinize every penny spent and expect a luxury resort then this place is NOT for you and you'll ruin it for those of us who are travelers. Stick to going to Vegas and leave the exotic destinations to us. Please!

Room Tip: choose one of the new cottages like sea glass or coco plum. also make sure you do the all-inclusive
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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9  Thank Mariah M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We absolutely loved our stay at Staniel Cay. We stayed there with an extended family of 5 adults in the Coral Cottage. While very 'cottagey' the lodging was fine. We went to a Target in Lauderdale and bought 5 water folding chairs which were absolutely the greatest for this trip. We loaded them on Watermakers plane. Due to a group of 5 we were given 2 whalers for our use so we would just throw the folding chairs in and take off for an island stay on a beach. These were so nice rather than sitting on a beach towel. We could snorkel, swim, sit and drink beer whatever in comfort. At the end of our stay we gave our chairs to our cottage cleaning lady who was thrilled to get the chairs. We wanted to swim in the Grotto at low tide so went there one morning. Getting the boats gassed and ready to leave for low tide at 9 was a little difficult as the workers work at their own pace.All of us had some trouble and effort to use the ladders to gain reentry to the boats. If there was a wooden block at the stern of the boat it would help. By this I mean the ladder curves down the side of the boat. Our home boat block allows the ladder to stick out more and is more of a straight line in the boat. Just a thought. We found the staff to be very friendly. In the dining room they soon identified us immediately as the Coral group. The service can be slow but that is the evening's entertainment so we didn't mind. Our longest dinner was 2 hours, most 1 hour in and out incl drinks. We would visit again in a minute.

Room Tip: Coral cottage good for families, but we did miss having a view of the water. I think it is the only cottage without a view. We were right next to the swimming pool.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank karen59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

We stayed for a week at SCYC in mid June. The place is beautiful. We stayed in the Ocean Blue cottage the whole week.

The cottage: The cottages are small, but adequate. My only complaint with them is that there isn't a lot of space in them and the get a bit messy quickly with a couple of kids. I wish we'd had a broom to keep the sand off the floor, but otherwise OK. We had a problem with the upstairs AC unit the first night, but it was fixed the next day. It turns out we were missing the remotes for them. Our safe was closed the whole week and it was never opened for us despite asking three times. Not a big deal, though. We didn't have any issues with theft. There was some noise the first night because of the Lionfish tournament, and then two other nights because of NBA finals, but none of it kept us awake. We were simply too exhausted to care. If noise bothers you, do not book Ocean Blue. It is right next to the yacht club.

The club: The location is simply amazing and well kept. Unfortunately the service is indeed rather slow. Don't expect to be catered to. Once you realize that no one is being rude and that they just do things differently there, everything gets better. Just ask for what you need and they will accommodate you if they can. By the end of the week we had no issues at all with the service. I never waited more than a minute or so at the bar for an ice cold Kalik! I do, however, recommend stopping by Isles General Store, just across the bridge from the airport, and stock up on drinks. It makes it much easier to get something quick than running over to the bar.

The whalers: We were on the package plan so we got a 13' whaler for the week. It wasn't anything pretty to look at, but it was solid and got us where we wanted to go. I was told while we were there that it was an unusually windy week, which was evident every time we traveled south. We had to go sloooow or it was an unbearably rough ride. he waves also made it hard to read the water, so we also went slow for that reason. Heading north with the wind was very nice. I recommend either upgrading to a cabin with a 17' Whaler or renting one if you want to go further than Big Major or Twin Cays. The ride will be a lot nicer.

Places we visited:

Thuderball grotto was the first stop. It's about a minute and a half off the dock. Simply amazing!!! We went there five or six times throughout the week. Go to the east side and see some beautiful coral formations. The fish inside were plentiful and huge. At one point a barracuda decided to check things out. He looked to be around 1.5 to 2 feet long. The current was pretty strong a couple of times so you need to be a strong swimmer to stay inside, but it never felt dangerous. Once you exit the west side, the current slacked up to almost nothing. I climbed to the top to look in the holes one day, but no chance I would ever jump from there. It is very sharp rock so wear shoes up there.

Swimming pigs: This is also very close so we went by several times. The first couple of times no pigs came out, but the third time three of them swam out to greet us. Those things are HUGE! I kept them a few feet from the boat out of fear they would swamp us if one tried to climb on. I know some others let them get closer and others even went ashore. To each his/her own, but that wasn't for me.

Compass Cay: We went all the way to Compass Cay and felt safe doing so, but coming back through Pipe Creek was a bit of an adventure with the wind and waves. It felt like it took FOREVER, but it only took maybe 30 - 45 minutes. On Compass we swam with the shark and bonefish, then headed up to Rachels Bubble Bath, which is pretty awesome. After traversing Pipe Creek, we ended up stopping for lunch at a small beach on Big Major Cay that some boaters have used for party's apparently. There are a couple of tables and chairs and other knick knacks to look at.

Sandy Cay and Twin Cays: We went to Sandy twice and Twin Cays once. On both we were the only people for several hours. It was great family time. The kids saw some neat sea creatures and swam in the beautiful shallow waters. We had our picnic lunches in the most beautiful places you could imagine.

Iguanas: We went down to bitter guana one day to see these guys. The wind was pretty brisk so we had to go very slow crossing the cuts there and back. The iguanas are pretty big and neat to see. We gave them a couple of pieces of fruit before we made it down to the end of the island where the sign asks you not to feed them. You would think the sign would be at both ends of the beach there, but oh well. Those iguanas were obviously used to being fed based on how several of them made a several hundred yard trek across the beach to see us.

Staniel Cay: We went to Pirate Trap beach near Club Thunderball I think three times. It's a very peaceful and calm beach where you can find dozens of sand dollars. Most of them are alive so please don't take them. You will likely find some dead ones, too, so look for those. My daughter and I hiked the trails and saw the small statue of the Virgin Mary at the northeast tip of the island. South of the airstrip is an old beach that looks like it was once a family area, but is now in disrepair. It would be a nice place to take small kids. We stopped by the ocean beach for a few minutes as well, but the wind and surf were far too high to swim. Other than that we rode around in our golf cart and explored. There's lots of partially completed construction that detracts from the otherwise beautiful island.

Diving: I was able to dive with Jake one day and had a great time. We did one dive off the east coast where there is a nice reef, then did another dive in a channel to the north which was a drift dive. We saw lobster, eels, a huge turtle, and lots of other coral and sea life. A nice sized barracuda tailed us over to the reef from the dive boat. I got a nice picture of that one!

Watermakers and Lanes: We used both and both were wonderful. No, they are not the cheapest ways to go, but the service was great and on time. I felt very safe in the Watermakers planes.

Overall I really enjoyed the week. My kids, 11 and 6, NEVER complained of boredom, which is amazing. They have complained on every other vacation. I let my 6 year old run around on his own and explore any time he wanted to. I never felt uncomfortable doing so, which can't be said for many resorts. The place is simply beautiful and he enjoyed looking at the yachts on the docks. My only complaint is that the restaurant and bar staff could probably use some restaurant training, but they were never rude. They just do things differently there and as a result things don't flow very well. I didn't let that bothered me and ended up coming home more relaxed than I have ever been at the end of a vacation week!

Room Tip: Don't choose Ocean Blue if noise bothers you. Yellow is farthest away followed by Key Lime.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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8  Thank rz3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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